Florida Laws Surrounding Punitive Damages After A Car Crash
If you or someone in your family was seriously injured because of the actions of another, you may be wondering if there is a way to secure a punitive award in addition to compensatory damages. Compensatory damages refer to expenses of the accident injury, such as medical expenses and lost income. Punitive damages are possible when a person was egregiously reckless.
Each state has its own legal guidelines surrounding punitive damages. Some states only consider punitive awards when there was intentional misconduct, for example. But in Florida, intentionally doing harm is one of two possible paths for a punitive damage award. Both intentional misconduct and gross negligence could lead to a punitive award after a car crash. Share the details of your crash with an Orlando car accident lawyer to understand what is possible for you.
Misconduct, Negligence, and Maximum Awards
Intentional misconduct is the correct allegation if a defendant knew their behavior was putting others at risk but ignored the danger. Being intentionally struck by another vehicle is an example of this. When a defendant behaved in a manner that ignored the safety of others, it is typically gross negligence. Driving under the influence is an example of gross negligence.
In addition to each state having its own laws about punitive damage awards, there are also state damage award caps. If you choose to move to secure a punitive damage award, the maximum amount possible in the state of Florida is $500,000 or 3 times the compensatory damage award. A few exceptions are possible, such as a defendant acting inexcusably and knowingly for financial gain, but these are incredibly rare car accident cases.
Having the correct amount of proof is an important part of scoring a punitive damage award. Florida courts take precautions to be sure the laws are not being abused. To shield themselves from fraud, courts demand proof the defendant acted in an intentional, reckless, or egregious way.
Discuss Details with an Orlando Lawyer
It is possible you could have access to compensatory damages and not be able to secure punitive damages. An attorney can advise you once they assess your case. Personal injury law can be complicated and understanding how to strategize a case will rely on careful assessment. Many may not realize that Florida does not allow punitive damages to move against a government entity, for instance.
One of the reasons punitive damages exist is to punish a defendant and send a message to society the behavior is not acceptable. While these awards are far less common than compensatory damages, if you believe you have a case talk to an experienced Orlando car accident lawyer. Always speak to an auto accident attorney before speaking to any insurance company representative.
What questions about punitive damages do you have following a Florida car wreck? You deserve to be compensated if another driver was negligent. To schedule a complimentary consultation, contact the Orlando personal injury attorneys at Israoui Law at 407-381-4529. Our experienced lawyers are familiar with all of the details associated with car accidents and how to secure compensation. At Israoui Law, personal attention matters.